Monday, September 24, 2012


I was up early this morning.  I went out to the woods.  There are few things that I enjoy more than being outside.  There was a big dead old oak tree in our woods that I thought I should take down.  This is my first large tree felling.  With some videos on Youtube and watching John Parker do it last week, I felt pretty sure about what I was doing.  Cut the wedge, did the back cut and down it came.  When Matt woke up, he came out.  I showed him what I'd done.  "Awesome!," was the first thing he said.  It's good when I get that kind of response from one of my kids.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Matthew turns 7

Matthew, Matthew, Matthew!  You are still our fair haired boy.  We celebrate seven wonderful years of life that God has given you and look forward to many more.

You'd rather be outside than anywhere else.  You love your brothers and love to be with them.  But more than any of our other kids, you're completely fine with being by yourself.  Your sister is one of your best friends and she thinks you hung the moon.  I love being with you.  You are kindhearted and tender.  You're the life of the party in the boys room.  We often have to scream down the hall, "Matthew, be quiet.  It's time to go to sleep."

I am praying that God continues to draw you to himself and strengthens your desire to be more like him.  Happy Birthday, buddy boy.

10 Years of Benjamin Donald

Ten years ago, we brought a little baby back to the residence hall at Calvin College.  He screamed nonstop for the first few weeks.  When ever he wasn't eating, his little stomach was gurgling and he was howling.  Once we got him on formula though, he changed over night.

Over the past ten years, he has grown into a wonderful young man.  He is really beginning to own who he is and it is a ton of fun to watch.  I have watched him recently really take on the role of oldest and most responsible in the family.  He is a lot like his dad, which I have apologized to him for more than once.

I am looking forward to how God draws you deeper and deeper into his love.  I pray regularly, like Paul did, "that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God."
Ephesians 3:16-19

We love you, Benjamin.

Monday, September 10, 2012

First Day of School 2012

When mom is also teacher, it complicates things sometimes, especially when mom is recovering from a cesarean section.  It also simplifies certain things as well.  Getting all of the kids ready to start at the neighborhood school I think would have been pretty difficult over the last few weeks.  Today was the first day of school for us though.  Amanda started off slowly with just jumping into math today.  I will begin history on Thursday.  We'll see how things go.  

This year we added Molly, our fourth pupil to the Gammons home school.  She is very excited.  I asked her at lunch how it went and if she like it.  She said she loved it.  She said she has her own math book.

We look forward to another grace-filled year of educating our kids at home.  Amanda is amazing in her patience, strength and skill.  The class is full of great students.  You can see the class roster below.

Ben, almost 10-years-old, grade 5
Caleb, 8-years-old, grade 3
Matthew, almost 7-years-old, grade 1
Molly, 5-years-old, kindergarten
Lucy, 2-years-old

Nathan John, 3-weeks-old, diaper school

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:6-9 ESV)

Big Brother, Little Brother

All of the kids have been very helpful since Nathan has come.  Ben has especially enjoyed toting him around in the Baby Bjorn.  Here are some pics.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Nathan at Three Weeks

It's been a wonderful and difficult three weeks.  Amanda went to the doctor on Tuesday and got the all clear that she's ready to return to her normal activity level.  We're all thankful for that.  Nathan is nursing well, but does not seem to be gaining a lot of weight.  He's to go into the doctor tomorrow for a weight check.  We'll see.  I reflected this morning on how different it is this time around.  When Benjamin was born, I was freaking out by this time.  With Nathan, I am thankful that God has enabled me to trust him more and to rest in his care for us.

Get a load of how cute he was this morning when we woke him up to eat!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Fence Painting

We have been working on our fence all summer.  When we bought the place, it was full of rotten wood, rusted nails and the paint was flaking off.  First we replaced all of the rotten boards with treated wood and used galvanized screws.  We had to let the treated wood age a bit so it would take the paint.  Over a period of a few weeks, the boys and I put a coat of primer.  It took a long time.

Then this weekend, Uncle Gregg volunteered as a farm hand, willing to do any work needed.  When most people volunteer to help out, painting isn't what they're hoping to do.  Gregg though was super gracious and never batted any eye.  We hoped to get the long stretch along the driveway done, but when we finished that by 11:00, we decided to push on and finish it all up.  Three gallons of paint and a good morning of work from the five members of the crew finished the project.  Thanks again, Gregg and Allison for your help!

The Year Amanda Didn't Go to the Fair

It has been a fairly difficult few weeks since Nathan came home. That has left the majority of the heavy lifting to Shube and me when I'm home.

 The highlight of our summers, especially for Amanda, is the Minnesota State Fair. We have gone every year that we've lived here and we love it. You know Amanda isn't feeling well, when she decides to opt out of the fair. We thought of every possible way to make it work but it just wasn't going to be. So yesterday, I loaded up the four oldest and we headed out. We tried to take pictures of all of the things we did and ate to share with Amanda when we got home. It was a great time and it made me thankful all over again for Amanda. Over and over again while I was there I just thanked God for how much work she put in with our family.

I felt like this year, we really got a good sense of the fair.  We saw some things that we hadn't before.  We did the barns, ate tons of fair food and watched most of our usual shows.  We also went to the coliseum and watched girls barrel riding.  This was a lot of fun and you could see the time and energy that each contestant had put into the fair.
Mini Donuts! Our fist stop every year.
Biggest pumpkin
All you can drink milk for $1
Ben and Matthew get ready to ride the Stratosphere.
Pickles and french fries for lunch

While we were doing lunch near the stage in carousel park, a guy from Cub grocery store came up and asked if the boys wanted to do a trivia contest on stage.  So up they went.  It was fun.  They got to do it with the Minnesota Timber Wolves mascot Crush.  Plus they gave us two $10 Cub gift cards.

All in all, it was a great day.  We certainly missed Amanda and Lucy.  But we had a great time just the five of us.